Burford founders each pocket £60m in first share sale

Bogart: Commitment to Burford has only intensified

The founders of the world’s largest litigation funder, Buford Capital, each became nearly £60m richer this week after selling some of their shares for the first time since launching the company in 2009.

Chief executive Christopher Bogart and chief investment officer Jonathan Molot sold a third of their holdings – respectively 4.4m and 4.3m shares at a price of £13.50.

These shares represent around 4.2% of the company’s total issued share capital.

Burford’s share price has spiked recently on the back of positive financial news; a year ago, the shares were trading at £8.

Mr Bogart said: “Jon and I have not sold a single share of stock in the more than eight years we have been running Burford, and it is with some reluctance that we sold some now given our enthusiasm for the future of the business.

“However, given that we preach the benefit of a diversified portfolio strategy for Burford, it seemed imprudent for us not to create some liquidity after all this time, although we are continuing to hold a considerable majority of our stock even after this sale.”

“Our commitment to Burford has only intensified: we have entered into new employment agreements (with significant non-competes) through the end of 2020; we are personally investing significantly in Burford’s investment funds; and we have agreed to a full year lock-up on all our remaining stock.

“We love what we do and intend to keep on doing it.”

Before setting up Buford, Mr Bogart has been executive vice-president and general counsel of US media giant Time Warner, where managed one of the largest legal functions in the world, with more than 350 lawyers.

He was previously at leading US law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore, although he began his professional career as an investment banker with what is now JPMorgan Chase.

Mr Molot was and is a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Centre. He is a former senior US government official and experienced litigator at top New York firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Buford has been much in the news of late, launching an insurance company, selling an unrealised £9m investment for £77m, and issuing spectacular annual results.

It reported income more than doubling to £245m, net profit after tax up 130% to £190m and new investments just last year totalling nearly £1bn.

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